It’s time to get real about food prep. Not that I have been lying to you before (I always give it to ya straight) but I wanted to compile a no-BS list about my weekly activity.
My food prep routine is relatively simple and similar every week. I change up what I prep (and therefore eat) based on five things: what’s in season, what’s available that is organic/free-range/grass-fed/antibiotic free (all that good stuff), what’s local, what’s on sale and what I feel like eating. Check out this post detailing my food prep routine (aka what I make, how I make it and how I store it).
I should probably define what food prep is, just in case: spend a bunch of time in the kitchen making food in advance. That’s it. But it works. Trust. Food prep saves you time during your busy week by having things ready to go; it saves you money by not eating out and by budgeting your groceries; and it’s pretty accepted that you if you have good food ready in the fridge, you’ll eat good food.
So let’s get to it.
1. Food prep is basically a cooler way of saying leftovers. Fact. I’ve let you in on this little “secret” before but it’s true. You will be eating similar meals and leftovers so embrace it. It’s inevitable. By making a bunch of food in advance, you are obviously going to have a bunch of the same food. I focus on preparing ingredients (vegetables, fruit and protein) and one or two big-batch-meals each week. By focusing on ingredients rather than meals, you can change things up. Get creative and use your ingredients in different ways to make different combinations and change up the spices and flavors. If I have 4 chicken breasts prepped – I’m going to be eating chicken for four meals but they will all be different: in a salad with strawberries, hemp seeds and nuts; or in a stir fry with broccoli, spaghetti squash and peanut sauce; or in an omelette with kale and salsa; or mashed up with avocado on cauliflower rice… use that noggin!
2. Food prep for one gets boring. I shop, cook and eat for one. Duh you know this. I can only buy so many things, otherwise they will go bad. Of course I wish I could buy a bunch of different veggies every week but that’s just not realistic. Deal with it. Don’t waste food. Save money. It’s just a week – you can buy that beloved rutabaga next week. The more mouths you have to feed, the more exciting your food prep becomes because you can buy more. That’s basically why a boyfriend would be handy in my life: for food prep. Nothing more.
3. Prep food you like to eat and won’t get sick of (for at least a few days). We have established you are going to be eating “leftovers” and that you can’t buy a billion different things: so make sure you like what you are going to see in the fridge. I like hard boiled eggs. I love sweet potatoes. So I prep them. Don’t prep two heads of broccoli if you hate broccoli. At the same time: don’t prep a batch of cookies if you are trying to curb your sugar cravings.
4. At first, you will spend hours in the kitchen. I am pretty sure I’d be in the kitchen for close to six hours when I was first figuring out this food prep stuff. I was chopping, stirring, washing, mixing, baking, cooking… I was doing anything and everything but I was highly inefficient. Now I have a routine (and wrote a whole post explaining it). I often split up my food prep: I’ll do veggies and my proteins on Saturday, then I’ll do one or two big batch meals on Sunday. When I’m on my A-game, I get everything done in less than two hours total. Try, try and try again. It will take foreverrrrr at first but it will change: you’ll figure it out and figure out what works for you and ultimately find your food prep groove (yeah, it’s a thing).
5. Your kitchen will be a mess. This won’t change. Sure you might get better at cleaning as you go but things will be everywhere. I “reserve” a time to be in
the Little Honey Bee kitchen my parent’s kitchen to get my prep done because I create a disaster zone. Cutting boards, knives, food processor, pans, pots, tupperware (lots of tupperware) and the odd bits of veggies and egg shells. Breathe. Clean. It will get done.
6. Your fridge will be taken over by Tupperware. Embrace it. I also reserve my own section of the fridge for my food. It seems to be expanding every so often… thanks guys.
7. People will think you’re weird/crazy/nuts until they try it themselves. Food prep haters – there are plenty of them. They make fun of our tupperware and that every meal is the same. Tupperware is a fabulous invention and we’ve already established that every meal is most definitely not the same. I’ve “caught” my mom pre-chopping her veggies for the week. Lesley called her out on it and mom said: “It actually is smart. I kinda like it.” Heck yes! Go mom. Haters gonna hate.
It’s tiring, far from glamorous and sometimes I dread it – but I know that my cooking life is far easier, more relaxed and much healthier when I have delicious food prepped.
So that’s it: no-BS, real talk.
Do your food prep – trust, you’ll thank me later. Let’s get started this weekend and while we’re at it, launch The Little Honey Bee hashtag – yes, I’m “launching” a hashtag and I need your help!
The next time you food prep (ahem, this weekend) or you eat dinner for breakfast or chow down on a hard boiled egg or put avocado on anything and everything or have a love affair with sweet potato or make a Little Honey Bee recipe… anything that has a little bit of Honey Bee flair…. pleeeeeeease Tweet, Instagram, Facebook and use this awesome hashtag created by Kim.
Because I made you do it right?
Have an awesome weekend!
Questions of the day…
Did I miss any of the other “truths” about food prep?
What are some of your strategies?
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